1. Compared to the MLS, how professional was the college atmosphere?
The college atmosphere is very professional. Obviously, there are differences, given that you’re dealing with young men and women versus grown men and women. But the college environment parallels the professional environment closely, as it’s sort of a feeder-system into the pros (at least for most sports). The coaching staffs are usually ex-players and have years of experience playing their respective sport. The university facilities are top-notch, and usually just as nice as professional facilities. There is also commonly a strong following for college sports, especially in the tight-knit community around the university. The players on the teams are all dedicated and hard-working individuals with similar goals. So, all in all, the college environment is very professional, and every year it keeps getting better and better.
2. How much value do you see in completing an education prior to starting to play professionally?
I believe that getting a college education is invaluable. Professional sports only last so long, and many times careers end too soon due to injury. Therefore, it’s imperative to have a plan for what to do after your playing days are over. Jobs are now more competitive than ever, and if you don’t have the education, many opportunities won’t arise when you need to find employment. Only the 99th percentile of athletes will make enough money while playing their sport to sustain themselves for life. The others will have to find other means of making a living. And nowadays, you need a college education to find a well-paying and intellectually stimulating job.
3. How was your college experience?
My college experience was amazing. Getting to play the sport I love while also being challenged academically and growing as a person was incredible. I met so many great people and lifelong friends. I’m so grateful to have experienced college and taken advantage of the incredible opportunity.
4. How well did academics and athletics work together?
Being a student-athlete is a very fun thing. You have to be very organized and on top of things to juggle all the responsibilities you have. But once you get the hang of things, it’s a breeze, and you garner a greater appreciation for being challenged to balance sports with academics.
5. What would you say to a person who is wondering whether they want to play college sports?
I’d say that if you love to play a certain sport, then go for it. There is a university that is right for you. Division I, II, or III doesn’t matter. They are all incredible institutions and will offer great opportunities. Just for life in general, if you are lucky enough to have found something you love to do, you owe it to yourself to pursue that dream to the best of your ability. You have to go for it with all your might.